Jurors in Rowan murder trial see knife allegedly used to kill woman

SALISBURY, NC (WBTV) - Jurors in the murder trial of Marlene Johnson were presented with the knife blade that detectives say was used to kill Shirley Pierce in July, 2013.  Some of the family members of Shirley Pierce wept as the detective walked slowly in front of the jury while carrying the knife.

Marlene Johnson is on trial, accused of killing Pierce because she thought Pierce was having an affair with her estranged husband.  Investigators say there was never any evidence of an affair.

In court on Thursday several pieces of evidence were presented to the jury, including the four inch long blade of what appeared to be a kitchen knife.

In the past investigators have said that the knife blade broke off from the handle and had to be removed from the neck of Shirley Pierce.  Pierce was stabbed multiple times in her Kannapolis home, investigators say.

Also presented in court on Thursday were items seized from the home of Marlene Johnson and from her car.

Rowan County District Attorney Brandy Cook questioned Rowan Sheriff's detectives who talked about those items, which included a print out picture of Pierce's home and address, and a decorative pineapple containing a "help gram" that included the name and address of Shirley Pierce.

From the trunk of Johnson's Hyundai investigators found the title to the Cadillac owned by Pierce, as well as Pierce's bank statements, and Kohl's advertisement that had been mailed to Pierce, and other items.

Earlier in the day Johnson's attorney, Jay White of Concord, questioned detectives about their actions at the crime scene, asking why some items were collected and checked for DNA, while others were not.

Johnson is also represented by James Davis of Salisbury.

Johnson is facing life in prison if convicted.

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